The Butte 100 mountain bike race is full — and then some.
Now in its sixth year, the fledgling event has reached its maximum capacity of 250 riders total for the 100- and 50-mile races to be held Saturday, July 28.
Plenty more people want in the event, said Gina Evans, race director.
“We have a waiting list of 122,” she said Friday. “The race is flying and there are a few states and countries represented.”
That includes riders from Hawaii, California, Oklahoma, Ohio and Alaska. And there’s a rider from Manitoba, Canada, giving the race an international flavor.
It’s all a sign that the Butte 100 has hit its stride in its sixth year, said Jon Wick, race communications director.
“We planned on capping out, just based on the trend we were heading on, but we had no idea we were going to have this kind of demand for the race,” he said. “It’s great for the town, it’s great for the race, and it’s great for the trails around here.”
Legendary mountain bike racer Tinker Juarez is returning this year from California to defend his title in the 100-mile race. He will be joined by 89 riders competing in the longer ride, while 160 riders are in the 50-mile event.
There are changes in store this year. The biggest is a new route for the first half of the 100-mile race. Inside of heading north of Butte from the start at Homestake Pass and hitting the Nez Perce trail, it will stay east of the Continental Divide, Evans said. From Homestake it will head up Delmoe Lake Road to the Pipestone area before returning to the start.
Those riders then head out onto the south loop. Wick said with packed gravel roads, they’re anticipating record times this year.
The route has been mapped with global positioning system technology and is included in a guidebook that Wick produced. It’s been mailed to the riders.
Another change this year is breaking the riders into elite and recreational categories. And the awards ceremony will be held Saturday evening, after the race.
Evans said the explosion in the Butte 100’s popularity has them looking to expand the race.
“It’s just been a fun time and we hope next year to get the cap raised and let all these other racers in,” she said. “With those on the waiting list, just imagine what more we could bring into Butte.”
The one constant in the race from previous years is the need for volunteers. Wick said with the course changes and the myriad trails in the Pipestone area they need more marshals to help riders keep from getting off the route.
Last year they had 65 volunteers and Evans said they’d like to have 80 to 100 this time. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, go to www.Butte100.com.
— Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at email@example.com